January 20, 2021

Freedom

You have made me stride freely, and my feet do not slip. 
2 Samuel 22:37
Christian liberty is a wonderful concept. But it's not without its complications. The one who has faith in God's grace is free from depending on obedience to God's law for salvation. Ironically enough, this means that the person of faith is finally free to obey the law they're no longer bound to.

One way to understand this might be a farmhand who does just enough work to keep his job. He fears getting fired, but he has no real stake in what the farm produces. Compare him to the farmer's daughter who loves her father and works hard on the farm because she understands the benefits of a good yield. Love and trust result in true freedom.

So when God grants us freedom, we are free from the law and its punishments. But we are still bound by another law. For Jesus gave us a new commandment—to love one another with his love. And so as free as we are, we must never forget that our Christian liberty must never be used to hurt a brother or a sister. The more deeply I appreciate that God's love has set me free, the more I am bound by my love for others to speak and act with empathy.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
 2 Corinthians 3:17
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Thank you for the freedom of the Gospel, Lord. As I live into it, help me to balance it with love and empathy for others.
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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For an excellent explanation of today's theme, I recommend Calvin's discussion of Christian liberty in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 19.
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